Tiny Outer Planet opens with Hill-brewed beers… until the taps run dry

It's the 12th Ave water (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

It’s the 12th Ave water (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Martins, left, and Stoccardo

Martins, left, and Stoccardo

The first new beer brewery to open on Capitol Hill since these guys started playing with yeast and hops on E Pike will debut its creations to the public for the first time Friday.

“I just hope we’re busy but don’t run out of beer,” Outer Planet Craft Brewing co-founder Renato Martins told CHS Thursday afternoon as he and brewmaster James Stoccardo prepared for their first days of business inside the tiny brewery and tasting room on the ground floor of a new 12th Ave building filled with tiny apartments.

The self-proclaimed “nano brewery” inside a microhousing development serves only its 12th Ave-brewed beers.

“We’ll only serve something we’re proud of,” Martins said. That pride means your early experiences with Outer Planet will be limited to Thursdays through Saturdays for the time being. Hours will be 4:30 PM until the brewers are ready to shut down for the night or the taps run dry. Continue reading

As 12th Ave justice center moves forward, juvenile court judge calls for racial reform

Juvenile court judge Susan Craighead.

Juvenile court judge Susan Craighead.

Justice isn’t color-blind, at least in King County.

According to a special report published last month, black youth in KC are roughly six times more likely than white youth to face a judge in juvenile court. And while the number of youth referred to juvenile court has been falling for years, the bulk of that benefit has gone to whites.

Speaking on behalf of the more than fifty judges on her bench, she says, Judge Susan Craighead is calling for a series of “listening sessions” with key players in the juvenile justice system. This includes representatives of government institutions which are “upstream” of the court—police, schools, and child welfare services — but also the families and communities most impacted by juvenile courts.

“We feel like we need all hands on deck to try to figure out what more can we do with this problem,” Craighead told CHS. Continue reading

It’s not easy being a Capitol Hill cop

It’s been a rough few weeks for the reputation of Seattle Police. Many would say officers have brought it upon themselves. Some have. But here’s a report from an incident earlier this year that provides a small story about just how hard the job is — and the benefit of having experienced officers on patrol in large enough numbers to get the job done.

The callout comes late on a Sunday night in January to a reported disturbance just a block from the East Precinct. The officer arrives to find a situation he has seen before.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 4.30.46 PM Nothing dramatic occurs, but in the report, you’ll read details of an officer who comes into regular contact with the people who live on the streets around you — many of them time and time again.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 4.30.56 PM

According to the officer, the man at the center of the disturbance had a simple request:Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 4.31.06 PM

The officer talked to the man, diffused the situation, and got back to work.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 4.28.42 PM

Like we said, nothing dramatic. Just an East Precinct cop who knows his beat dealing with the day to day — or night to night — on Capitol Hill.

‘Never park’ on Capitol Hill again? Zirx on-demand valet service expands to Pike/Pine

IMG_4376Now that we have mostly displaced poor people from Capitol Hill (you just be quiet Jon Grant), it’s time to start reaping our service rewards. You’ll never have to park on Capitol Hill again — or, at least, on parts of it. Zirx has arrived.

Quietly, the “on-demand,” roaming valet service has rolled up the Hill to expand its Seattle service area beyond its South Lake Union test.

Here’s what Geekwire had to say about it:

Here’s how it works. You designate a pick-up location on Zirx’s app, and 5-to-7 minutes later, an agent shows up at your car. He or she will drive your car to a secure parking facility that the company has partnered with. When you want your car again, you select a location and an agent will bring your vehicle there.

Zirx pays parking garage operators to rent space it needs to store vehicles. In case of an accident, Zirx has a $1 million insurance policy for the vehicle itself, and a $1 million policy for the agent, who is also screened for driving records and background checks.

“Never park again,” Zirx promises. The cost? $15 for the day.

The start-up hasn’t announced the expanded service and hasn’t yet responded to our request for more information. We found out about the new area of service when we were talking with the folks from the Cafe Juanita pop-up staying on 12th Ave for the next six months. You can save on your Zirx pick-up, apparently, with code: “juanita”

Zirx says it tries but doesn’t promise a response to calls via its mobile app within five minutes. You can now expect to get stuck behind the “I’m waiting for Zirx” guy in addition to the epic line of taxi cabs in front of Rhein Haus on 12th Ave.

Despite improvements in availability thanks to expanded pay parking areas and hours, many consider parking on Capitol Hill on a Friday or Saturday night its own kind of special hell. $15 to hand it over to a Zirx valet and be done with it will probably feel like a bargain. And hey, all you wealthy party people who enjoy alcohol, for another $15, you can leave your car overnight.

You can learn more at zirx.com.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Eastsider Cafe Juanita playing tourist on 12th Ave

It’s not quite a pied-à-terre but Holly Smith is doing what she can to pack nearly 15 years of Pacific Northwest fine dining experience into a small, temporary home on 12th Ave.

“We emptied the place. Every single plate, stemware. All the wine is in storage at a distributor. We brought our chairs. We brought our artwork. It felt very much like opening. It’s really reminiscent,” she says.

“We have every single pot that we thought we’d need.”

Smith’s temporary stay on the edge of Capitol Hill just got a little less “pop-up.” With the longtime home of Cafe Juanita undergoing a massive overhaul, Smith and her team have packed up and moved onto 12th Ave in the former home made available by Lark’s launch of its ambitious new ventures in the Central Agency Building. Smith says the short stay is going to last a little longer. With her Eastside construction stretching deeper into spring, she and Cafe Juanita will now be resident on 12th Ave into June.

She’s looking forward to meeting her new — temporary — neighbors.

“We’re really proud of what we do,” Smith said. “We like to have fun. We have award wining service, but very personable, very heartfelt service.” Continue reading

Despite protest, County Council votes to build new youth detention center

After nearly five hours of impassioned public testimony that drew an overflow crowd and a brief police response, the King County Council unanimously approved an ordinance to build a new youth detention center at 12th and Alder Monday evening.

Dozens of people packed into the County Council chambers to voice their opposition to the controversial plan to replace the county’s crumbling youth detention center with a smaller capacity Children and Family Justice Center. In the 7-0 vote, the council approved a $154 million contract with developer Howard S. Wright to construct the new facility, which is expected to be complete in 2018.

Public testimony was tense from the start. Council member Joe McDermott began by asking dozens of people who didn’t have a seat to wait outside the chambers until their name was called to comment. Most refused to leave and the meeting was recessed several times until the standing crowd was allowed to stay. Continue reading

County opts for ‘virtual open house’ on Children and Family Justice Center


Artist rendition of the upgraded facility

King County has opted to cancel a planned Saturday “open house of conceptual designs” of the controversial Children and Family Justice Center to be built at 12th and Alder and instead will hold a “virtual open house” with information and a survey about the project, according to an announcement sent to CHS.

The detention and justice center has been the target of ongoing opposition by protesters and community groups who say $200 million shouldn’t be spent on a youth detention system that disproportionately detains African Americans.

In October, the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 in favor of a land use bill that gave King County the ability to replace its crumbling facilities.

In order to reach more residents of King County, we are replacing the open house at the Youth Services Center on Sat Jan. 24, with a virtual open house of conceptual designs of the Children and Family Justice Center. For your convenience, the virtual open house and survey will be available online from Jan. 24 through Feb. 8, 2015.

The County will post the virtual open house on the Children and Family Justice Center website late Fri., Jan. 23, and email it to project stakeholders. www.kingcounty.gov/childrenandfamilyjustice.

Please use the survey at the end of the narrated video to share your priorities as we move to design refinement in 2015 and construction in 2016 of the badly needed new courthouse and detention center at 12th Ave. and East Alder Street.

The County will schedule an in-person event after the design-build contract is signed and the design refinement process begins. Details about a public engagement schedule will be emailed to stakeholders, distributed on the County’s social media platforms and posted on the project website when they are available.

The Children and Family Justice Center will better support the policies and programs that have helped King County achieve one of the lowest juvenile detention rates in the nation. Additionally, King County is leading an assessment and developing an action plan in 2015 to further our work to minimize youth involvement and understand and better combat the causes of racial disparity in the criminal justice system, many of which occur long before youth arrive at the detention center door. For more information, visit www.kingcounty.gov/childrenandfamilyjustice.

Our Town — with ‘celebrity guest’ Professor Willards — takes the stage at 12th Ave Arts

1471280_10152667908066270_4908311122070856656_nLast week, CHS took you behind the scenes as the stages at 12th Ave Arts — the affordable housing + office + restaurants + theater + SPD parking development from Capitol Hill Housing — started to go into motion for the first time with Washington Ensemble Theatre’s debut of Sprawl.

This week, a second resident company will take the stage at 12th Ave Arts for the first time as Strawberry Theatre Workshop presents the classic Our Town:

Thornton Wilder—who begins Our Town with the direction, “No curtain. No scenery.”—might have been thrilled to stage his Pulitzer Prize winning play in a space where theatre had never been created before. His play pioneered a form of expressionism that demanded an audience collaborate in the creation of the story without the aid of production elements of any kind.

When Strawberry Theatre Workshop Artistic Director Greg Carter walked into the unfinished performance space at 12th Ave Arts on Capitol Hill, he decided that Wilder was uniquely suitable to welcome the neighborhood into a new venue.  “The idea of this production is that 12th Ave Arts is not a theatre until we make it one.”

Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Performance Dates: Jan 22-Feb 21
Performance Times: Thu-Fri-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2:00pm
No Performance Sun Feb-1 (Super Bowl Sunday) or Sun Feb-22
Venue: 12th Ave Arts
Address: 1620 12th Ave, Seattle 98122
Ticket Prices: $36 General, $27 Seniors, $18 Students
Phone Sales: 1-800-838-3006
Online Sales: www.brownpapertickets.com

Strawshop says it is lining up celebrity guests to walk-on in the role of Professor Willard in Act 1 of each performance: “The walk-on opportunity is a gesture to the community in this celebration of civic life, and to thank the neighborhood for its support of 12th Ave Arts.” You can learn more at facebook.com/strawshop.

Northwest Film Forum’s film festival for kids turns 10

Sally's Way from Trinidad and Tobago plays January 31

Sally’s Way from Trinidad and Tobago plays January 31

An annual celebration of the youthful joys of the cinema — and pajama parties — is set to return to 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum starting next week.

The Children’s Film Festival Seattle begins next Thursday with a world premiere performance of a new musical score for Buster Keaton’s classic 1928 silent comedy, Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Meanwhile, you can still score tickets to Friday’s pajama party with Caspar Babypants.

You’ll find the full 2015 slate of festival films, tickets and more information at nwfilmforum.org.

Northwest Film Forum rolls out the red carpet for the 10th birthday edition of Children’s Film Festival Seattle (January 22 – February 7, 2015), the largest and most respected film festival on the West Coast dedicated to children and their families.

The 12-day extravaganza celebrates the best and brightest in international cinema for children, and will include more than 175 films from 58 countries, including Afghanistan, Venezuela, Qatar, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago. The festival will include live performances, animation, features, shorts and hands-on filmmaking workshops, all crafted with care to appeal to the next generation of movie-lovers, ages 3 to 15.


It’s time to put the arts in 12th Ave Arts as new Capitol Hill stages come to life

The Sprawl set gets some paint inside 12th Ave Arts (Image: WET)

The Sprawl set gets some paint inside 12th Ave Arts (Image: WET)

The lights are up, the seats are set, and production managers are geeking out over new equipment. The inaugural season of theater at 12th Avenue Arts is ready to commence.

12th Ave’s three resident theater groups have been settling into their two black box spaces since the lights went on in November at the Capitol Hill Housing arts and affordable apartments complex. Strawberry Theatre Workshop, Washington Ensemble Theatre, and New Century Theatre Company have solidified their first slate of plays, which kick off next week. Continue reading

A SIFF hit, Capitol Hill film My Last Year with the Nuns gets another run at NWFF

Matt Smith and big ol' St. Joe's

Matt Smith and big ol’ St. Joe’s

It might sound like fun to see a truly Capitol Hill movie but My Last Year with the Nuns is not a pleasant film. Yes, Matt Smith‘s acting is compelling and at turns dazzling as he deadpans his way through a script that’s been honed for nearly two decades, telling the story of a “white, 13-year old boy” living in Capitol Hill circa 1966, during the protagonist’s eighth grade year at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. And yes, in his directorial film debut, Capitol Hill theater veteran Bret Fetzer pulls on decades of experience of doing a lot with relatively little and helps turn a one man stage play, and a $50,000 or so budget, into a smartly-composed and imaginative feature-length monologue film that was a hit at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2014.

But the film does not flinch as it depicts the the racism, sexism and homophobia that informed and constructed the young protagonist’s reality and helped define his identity, and that still resonates in the reality and identity of his older, somewhat more reflective self, who plays the narrator.

“When I put this together, I wanted to convey the truthful essence of my experience from the point of view of a 13-year-old boy,” Smith told CHS, “And I tried to tell it from the stream-of-consciousness of this 13-year-old boy in such a way that it didn’t take me off the hook.”

After its packed shows at The Egyptian during SIFF last year, My Last Year with the Nuns is returning to Capitol Hill for a week’s run at Northwest Film Forum, where it will be taking over both screens starting Friday. The film will show at 7 PM and 9 PM daily through Thursday, January 19. Members of the film’s crew are promised to be present at all screenings. Tickets are available here. Continue reading

Lark nestles into its ‘grown-up’ Central Agency home


Lark’s new roost in the old and overhauled Central Agency Building (Images: CHS)

Lark's ownership trio -- Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan

Lark’s ownership trio — Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan

In August 2013, when layers of metal sheeting were first getting peeled off the old File Box warehouse, CHS predicted that the area around 10th and Seneca would be completely transformed in 20 years. You can probably shave a few years off of that prediction.

After more than a year of preservation work on the 1917-built Central Agency Building, the cavernous food and drink complex is buzzing with activity. Central Agency’s anchor tenant, Lark, opened the doors to its new home December 4th after closing up shop at 12th and E Spring earlier this year. So far, chef/owner John Sundstrom said the reaction from his 12th Ave regulars has been overwhelmingly positive.IMG_3411

“We love the space,” he said. “It’s a little bit more of a grown-up experience.” Continue reading

The top 10 films of 2014… on 12th Ave

The Grand Budapest Hotel made Bush's list. CHS gives it ***

The Grand Budapest Hotel made Bush’s list. CHS gives it ***

There are some bad signs for the future of film — and some good. Let’s turn to Lyall Bush, the executive director of 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum, for some home hope. NWFF has posted Bush’s 2014 top 10 list. You can add your picks in comments. The constraints are time-flexible. We don’t really care what year the film was made — just tell us what you watched and liked in 2014 and where you saw it.

Civilization and its Disturbances: The Year in Film vis Northwest Film Forum’s Lyall Bush

  1. force majeure asks us to regard nature against something like artifice
  2. Contempt — one of Jean-Luc Godard’s major films, and therefore one of the greatest films ever made
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel — in his own highly designed way Anderson has made his Vertigo
  4. La Voz de los Silenciados — the film’s tale of human enslavement in New York quite originally suggests Czech surreal filmmaking from decades ago
  5. A Spell to Ward of the Darkness — a beautiful braid of the complex, the stirring, and the disturbing
  6. A Touch of Sin — a bigger film than he has previously made, harder and shinier
  7. Under the Skin — arresting film about an alien on the streets of Glasgow
  8. Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1 — Von Trier, and his leading lady, Charlotte Gainsbourg, make it something of a deconstruction of civilization and its discontents
  9. In Country — a documentary about Vietnam war re-enactors in Oregon
  10. Speed of Sound — what happens when the text message from a friend who died a year ago pops up on a phone

Outer Planet ready to brew its first batch, welcome neighbor cheese bar Culture Club

For many new food and drink ventures on Capitol Hill, the first days after openings soft and grand are critical to success. But for 12th Ave microbrewery Outer Planet, this coming weekend — weeks before its planned opening — is when it all begins.

“This weekend is pivotal,” Outer Planet Brewing co-owner Renato Martins tells CHS. “We’ll be brewing the first batch then the countdown begins.”

If all goes well, Outer Planet will be lined up to opens its doors — and its Capitol Hill-brewed taps — in late January. UPDATE: Outer Planet has set an opening date of February 20th. Be there!

The culmination of months of work and on-the-fly learning by Martins and brewmaster James Stoccardo comes in a big week of news for the “nanobrewery” on the groundfloor of a new 12th Ave microhousing apartment building. By spring, Outer Planet’s brewery will be accompanied by neighbor Culture Club, a “cheese bar” concept from Melrose Market cheesemonger Sheri Lavigne. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Chavez will bring Durango-style tacos and Mexican small plates to 12th Ave

Chef Chavez (Image: Cantinetta)

Chef Chavez (Image: Cantinetta)

Simple, focused, shareable small plates and tacos from Mexico’s northern city of Durango. That’s the concept for Chavez, the latest Capitol Hill restaurant slated for a soft opening — this time, just after Christmas amid a flurry of food and drink news on 12th Ave.

Chavez is a culinary coming home for Duranguense head chef Gabriel Chavez. After five years in the kitchen at Cantinetta, Trevor Greenwood’s Wallingford Italian restaurant, Chavez is taking charge with his hometown favorites in Greenwood’s latest venture.

In addition to a rotating menu of tacos and antojitos (Mexican appetizers), Chavez will also feature one main seafood dish a night and a tasteful-but-not-overblown selection of tequila and mezcal. Continue reading